Authors: Sam Ayers
“Sorry sweetheart, Aiden has work to do and he will be busy right now,” Nick said and looked up at Adelynn, who mouthed a
to him. He sighed and walked away to his study.
* * *
Later that day, Ashton called Alex to inform him about his grandfather’s arrival, which was new because he never liked to call Alex.
“Wassup, kid?” Alex asked.
“Come home, NOW! We have an emergency!” he shouted and Alex had to move the phone away.
“Is it Aiden?” He would have called him if something were wrong.
No it can’t be Aid.
“IT’S GRANDPA! HE’S HERE!” Ashton screamed again.
“Oh my, the old man’s there! But why are you calling me?”
“‘Coz you can handle him, stupid!”
“I don’t have to meet him if I don’t want to! Handle him yourself,” Alex snickered.
“What the—? Alex, Dad is calling you!”
“Is he really annoying everyone so bad that Uncle Nick wants me there?” Alex asked, curiously.
“YES! Please come, Al.” Ashton literally begged him.
“Oh, alright! Give me an hour, okay?” Alex said and cut the call. He had to inform Aiden.
Why did Pierre turn up all of a sudden?
He was definitely up to something.
Alex called Aiden up, who picked up in the first ring as if he was waiting for the call.
“Hey Al, wassup?”
“Hey Aido! Just called to let you know I’m gonna stay at your parents’ place for a while.”
Aiden laughed, “Seriously, Al? Missing Mom’s cooking already?”
“No. The old terror Pierre decided to drop in as a
. I’m going there because Ashton begged me to,” Alex explained.
“Ash begged you? Then this must be serious. Look, I can’t come home, Ady is staying at my place for a while.” He sighed.
“At your place? Why?”
“Umm . . . long story short, she needs a break. So she is taking one,” he said.
“Is she okay, Aido?” Alex asked, concerned.
“Yup, don’t worry. And please don’t talk to Gabe about this. You know he is still mad at you.”
mad?! It isn’t my fault that his sister can’t get over the awesomeness that’s me!”
“Seriously, Alex, you should apologize. I mean, if I was in his place I’d be mad, too,” Aiden sighed.
“Apologize for what? Not leading her on? For not lying to her, and letting her believe that I was in love with her? C’mon, Aiden, you know that she was getting serious and I didn’t feel any sparks. Why is it my fault when all I did was tell her the truth?”
“Alright. Let’s drop this for now. Go take care of Grandpa,” Aiden said.
“Please don’t remind me,” Alex groaned.
“Go now! Tell me later how bad he has been. Goodbye!”
“Will do. Bye, Aido.” Alex sighed as he cut the call. Talking about Rachel bought all the memories back again . . .
Rachel had been like a breath of fresh air in the middle of flocks of senseless bimbos who threw themselves at Alex just because he was a Reid. She had been smart and funny and sarcastic and so beautiful with huge blue eyes and glossy brown locks that framed her face to perfection. He had met her when Gabe introduced them to his family when he started dating Adele seriously and they had hit it off immediately. Alex had asked her to dinner and she had turned him down flat with a smile on her face that said she would kill him without regret. That had just made her more attractive and he started to pursue her, taking her rejection as a challenge.
Looking back he had been a complete player – not that he wasn’t one now, but at that time it had just been a game – while now he was searching for the right one. After twenty rejections and a whole load of roses at her doorstep, she had agreed to a single date, which led to more . . . but as they got to know each other, he realized that though he liked her, he would never be in love with her. She looked so happy that he just couldn’t let her know, and maybe he would have lived that lie for a long time if it hadn’t been for that night.
Seven months ago, Adele had invited them to dinner. When he went to pick Rachel up, she had looked gorgeous in a dark blue dress that brought out her eyes, her hair held in a loose bun with soft curls framing her face.
“I have to say you look absolutely ravishing,” Alex said, smirking.
“Thanks! You don’t look half bad,” she grinned.
“Ouch! Just ‘not bad’, huh? Oh well, you ready to go?”
She nodded and they made their way to the restaurant. When they reached, they realized that they were the last ones there.
“Sorry, we got held up in traffic,” Alex said even as he pulled out Rachel’s chair for her. A chorus of
Once everyone was settled and had ordered, they all turned to Adele and Gabe to find out what was going on. Rachel asked impatiently, “So, why did you call all of us here?”
Adele smiled and held out her hand; a solitaire glittered in the light. “Gabe proposed and I said yes.”
Alex sat there, staring at them looking at each other, so in love, so lost without the other . . . that’s what he didn’t find in his relationship with Rachel. When he had seen these two, he had started seeing the flaws in his own relationship. While Rachel and he had amazing chemistry and understanding, they didn’t have the connection that these two shared. He looked up when Rachel called out his name. He congratulated them and they had had a lovely meal.
When he had dropped Rachel off that night, she asked him in for coffee and he couldn’t say no.
“Alex, what are we?” She asked, suddenly.
“I’m sorry, what?”
“What . . . are . . . we, Alex? Are we dating?”
He smirked. “I’m pretty sure we are, Rachel; after all, it would be strange if all I had done was taken you out to dinner all this while for no reason.” He had a sinking feeling in his stomach that this would turn out bad.
“No Alex, are we dating as in,
He gulped. “Rachel . . . I . . . I . . . um.”
She had looked at him, hurt so clear in her eyes. “I am falling in love with you, Alex Reid, so tell me this now: do you love me too?”
He decided to come clean, “Rachel . . . I like you, but I don’t think I will ever fall in love with you. I’m sorry.”
She was quiet for a while – which seemed like a really long time for Alex – but realizing what just happened, she replied, “Sorry? SORRY!? You break my heart and say sorry? Get out, Alex! I don’t want to see you ever again!”
And with a stinging slap to the face she kicked him out.
After that, Rachel had gone to Vancouver for some medical internship and Gabe started giving Alex the evil eye every time they met. How was he supposed to explain to them that all he had wanted to do was not hurt Rachel by leading her on? He had left her so she could move on and find a better man. While there were many who desired him, he didn’t think there was anyone but his family that just loved him.
Shaking his head, he pulled out of his morbid thoughts and got in his car. He drove off to his Uncle’s place to face the old terror!
This is gonna be fun! Oh Yeah! You just wait, Pierre. I’m coming!
He smirked at that thought.
- Chapter 7 -
Ashton was pacing the living room, thinking about the trouble his grandfather had caused as soon as he stepped foot in the house. He was still arguing with Nicholas.
Where was Alex when they really needed him? Was he still mad at him for not picking Aubrey up?
Well, Ashton couldn’t explain that he’d injured himself during the soccer practice and couldn’t walk all the way to her school. And his phone’s battery was dead. Too many difficulties, and by the time he reached her school she was gone. What Alex did to Ashton was worse! He forgot him in a freaking supermarket when he was ten. And he stayed there till his dad found out that he was missing and came to pick him up.
Ashton dropped onto the couch with his hands covering his face. Aubrey, who was playing nearby, sat next to him and he looked up to see her grinning.
“Is everything alright, Ash? Are you upset that Aidey didn’t come home?” She asked and Ashton sighed.
Aiden was Aubrey’s world!
She spoke only about him. He wished that their brother decided to come home soon.
“No Aubrey, I’m waiting for Alex, where the hell is he?”
“I’m here, you moron!” Alex called standing near the door. “Why the heck are you so nervous? What did the old man do now?” He asked as he dropped his bag down.
“What is that?” Ash asked, pointing towards the bag.
“What? This? It’s a bag, blockhead!” Alex smirked as he came in and hugged Aubrey.
“Hello Princess, I got this for you,” he said and handed over a huge bar of chocolate to her.
“Thank you, Al. I’m going to share it with Grandpa,” she said and kissed his cheek. Alex looked at Ashton and handed his bag to him.
“What should I do with this?” Ashton asked, pointing towards it.
“Are you seriously my cousin? ‘Coz you are really dumb!” Alex stated. Aubrey burst out laughing, and Alex gave her a high five.
“Stop making fun of me! Seriously, what am I supposed to do with this?” Ashton asked, annoyed.
“Take that to my room. And where is your grandfather?”
“Are you planning to stay here?” Ashton asked and Alex just nodded.
“Grandpa isn’t here. He said he wanted to take a walk and left,” he sighed and took his bag upstairs.
Ashton knew it was going to be a long day, but he was sure Alex would take care of the mess his dear grandfather created. His phone started to ring and he saw it was Aiden calling him. He picked it up and answered, informing him that Alex was back.
* * *
Alex walked out to find Pierre running, and he couldn’t help but laugh at the look on his uncle’s face right next to him.
“Grandpa Pierre, what a pleasant surprise! I didn’t know you were visiting,” Alex called, and as expected, Pierre turned towards him with a frown. “You willz talk with ze rezpect wiz me, brat. And whaz do you meanz vizit you! I am herez to ztay with mi wonzerful dauzer. The queztion iz what ’re you doingz ’ere?”
Alex grinned at Uncle Nick’s relieved sigh, hoping he would play along. “You didn’t know?! I am staying here for a while . . . there’s a problem with the plumbing at my place, so Aunt Lynn and Uncle Nick graciously decided to let me stay with them.”
Alex almost snickered at the look on Pierre’s face. They didn’t hate each other, but they usually didn’t see things eye to eye on most matters; since he bossed over everyone else in the family, it was always Alex that had come to the rescue. Alex turned and looked at his uncle, expecting some sort of comment to back him up, but Nicholas just stood there staring at them both.
What was with him? He could bring strong businessmen to their knees, but he just wouldn’t fight with
“Oh, Alex! There you are! I have been looking all over for you.”
Alex grinned as he turned to see Adelynn walking out the door with Ashton a little behind her. She winked, and his grin grew. So she had caught on to the plan. Brilliant!
She turned towards Pierre and said, “I’m sorry, Papa, but I forgot to inform you that Alex is going to be here for a while.” Turning back, she signaled Alex to follow her and left.
Relishing the sight of Pierre slowly turning purple, Alex walked inside just to be smacked on the head as soon as he entered the kitchen.
“Hey! What was that for?” he yelled, turning to see his aunt with both her hands on her hips . . . and she would have scared him if not for the playful glint in her eye.
“The next time you boys come up with a plan, don’t forget to include me,” she said.
Alex stared at her for a minute and then they both burst out laughing. “You, my dear Aunt Lynn, are the best!” he grinned as he hugged her.
She smiled, “Okay, I baked a new set of cupcakes. Do you want one?”
Alex grinned. “You know I’d never say no to a cupcake,” he said, picking up a chocolate cupcake that looked like it would melt in his mouth before making his way to his room to unpack.
When William started leaving him with Nicholas and Adelynn a lot after his wife died, Alex started sharing a room with Aiden. Lynn had reasoned that since he was their unofficial son, he would have his own room like the rest of the children, but he loved to stay with Aiden, so they ended up in one room; this was basically his childhood home. This room still had the rock posters he put up as a teen and all sorts of scratches and holes – each with a story to it. The room at his dad’s place looked like a guest room. He smiled when he saw the fresh sheets on the bed. Even though all of them had flown out of the proverbial nest, Adelynn still kept their rooms like they lived there. Perhaps that was why he preferred to crash here when there was a problem with his apartment or he was down or simply missed home. Wait . . . if he was going to stay here, then that meant he would be able to see Abigail more often.
His phone ringing broke his thoughts.
“Hi, Aido! Wassup?”
“Hey, Alex. Just wanted to know the situation at home. How is everyone holding up?” Aiden asked.
Alex grimaced, “Grandpa Pierre has gotten it into his head that Adele has to marry in France. Frankly, I think everyone in the house just wants to throttle him . . . well, except for Aubrey. She seems to be in love with him and misses you like crazy.”
“I wish I could go there, but you know I have to go to Paris next week and I still need to work on that proposal. Listen, I need to talk to you about work. I know you put in a leave because you weren’t able to concentrate, but when can you drop by?”
“I can meet you tomorrow around two. Will that be okay?” Alex asked.
“Absolutely,” Aiden said. “I have loads of work to do, so I’ll talk to you later.”
“Sure, bud. Later.”
Alex’s peace was shattered by Pierre’s voice booming through the house. He sighed, guessing he would have to go save the poor soul that was caught in his grasp this time. Walking down the stairs, he saw Pierre towering over a slightly intimidated Abigail.
* * *
Adele still hadn’t decided the location for her wedding and if it got any later, she wouldn’t get any free, so Abigail decided to drop in to ask her. Ringing the doorbell, she waited for a while before Ashton opened the door.
“Hi, Ashton, is Adele in?” Abigail asked.
Ashton looked tensed, “Umm . . . no sorry, she isn’t here.”
“Oh! I should have called, I guess.” Just as she was about to wave goodbye and walk away she heard a voice call from inside, “Who iz it, Azhton? Iz it mi zear grandauzer, Adele?”
Ashton went pale and tried to shoo her away, but all she could do was stare at him confused. The door suddenly opened further and Abby was pulled in.
“Who iz thiz, Azhton?” She looked at the man and realized that he was their grandfather.
“Hello, I am Abigail, Adele’s wedding . . .”
“Oh, you are alzo getzing marriez! How goodz, you zhould alzo marriez in ze France likez mi Adele.”
Abigail looked at Ashton in confusion. If Adele had changed the wedding location, why hadn’t she informed her yet?
Ashton just shook his head. Before she could open her mouth to ask him what was going on, Pierre said, “Zo mi zear, who you marriez? Howz old ere you? Iz he a Frenchman?”
She stood staring at him in confusion. Just as she was about to answer him, she heard a deep chuckle that sent shivers down her spine. A voice so baritone she swore it should be illegal said, “Seriously, old man, if you took a breath, she would tell you that she is Ady’s wedding planner.”
Abigail gave him a small smile. Yes, she was still annoyed with him but she guessed he wasn’t all that bad.
“Hi, beautiful!” Abigail looked up to see Alex standing right in front of her.
“Hi,” she smiled. After the first week, she got pretty used to Alex flirting with her. He was like a cute overanxious puppy that loved drooling over her. Hmm . . . she actually wouldn’t mind him wrapped over her . . .
Wait, what? Bad Abby!
Even as she had her inner monologue, Alex had started leading her towards the sitting room.
“Hey, wait! If Adele isn’t here then I’ll come later.”
Alex pouted, “Oh come on, Abby, will you not spend some time with us? And anyway we are also helping Adele, so maybe you can discuss whatever it is with me.”
“I wanted her to confirm the venue,” she said.
“Oh! That I can’t really help you with, but I can let her know if you want.”
“Thanks, Alex. I should get going now.”
Just as she got up, Aubrey came running in, “Al, I am hungry.”
Alex groaned. “Alright, let’s take you out for pizza.”
Abigail, who was standing right there, looked at him in surprise, “Are you serious?”
He shrugged. “I don’t really know how to cook, Ashton is no better, and Pierre would just burn the house down, so . . .”
Abigail looked at Aubrey’s cute face and sighed. “Where is the kitchen?”
Huge grins broke out on both their faces. “Yay! Abigail, you are the best! Can I please have Cheesy Chex Mix?” Aubrey asked and she nodded at her.
She turned to look at Alex as Aubrey led her towards the kitchen, and saw a look she had never seen on him. She couldn’t do anything but smile back. Nodding to him to follow them, she made her way into the kitchen.
* * *
The next morning, Aiden woke up to a very loud noise coming from the living room. He was having a peaceful sleep, but someone ruined it. He sighed and realized that there was someone in the living room. Someone was in his house! Oh God, was he being robbed?
He pulled his baseball bat out from behind the door and slowly crept into the hall to see Adele lounging on the couch sipping coffee and watching a rerun of some sappy romance on the TV. Sighing, he put the bat down and plopped down next to her.
“Good morning! Want some?” She asked, raising her cup.
“Morning! No thanks. I need to go jogging now,” he smiled and got up. Of course, Adele was staying with him! How did he forget that? Shaking his head, he headed towards his room.
It took him just five minutes to get ready and then he was off. He went to the nearest park with a jogging trail and started his normal workout. A lot of things were going on in his mind, the first of which was Adele. He had to find a way to convince her to go back. Next was Grandpa Pierre; Alex called him yesterday and told him how badly he was behaving. He was literally driving people nuts. As Aiden jogged, he saw a girl walking a little ahead of him. From the back she looked a lot like Jo. Was he actually checking out his secretary’s back? Aiden looked away, then back. How could anyone
look? She was drop dead gorgeous! He sped up so he was ahead of her. Yes, he was right! It
Jo. She didn’t see him, though, and it looked like she couldn’t hear him either. She was listening to some music on her iPod, so he went ahead of her some more and stopped. She was still not looking, and ran right into him. He caught her before she lost her balance.
“Oh! Sorry, I didn’t see—” She stopped as soon as she realized who he was. Her voice was loud. Because of the music, Aiden guessed. He pointed towards her Earpods and she pulled them out.
“Hi!” Jo murmured.
“Much better,” Aiden said and chuckled. “How are you this morning? Do you come here often?”
“Umm . . . No . . . Yes!” She mumbled. She looked so nervous that he guessed she didn’t want to talk to him now.
Bad Luck, Aid!
“I guess I’ll be going now,” he said after a few seconds.
“You’re leaving already?” She asked him, surprised. For a minute, he felt like she wanted him to wait.
“Well, I don’t have anything better to do.” He smiled.
“Let’s sit there.” She pointed towards a bench. “We can talk. That is, if you don’t mind.”
She was giving him a choice to either stay back and chat or walk away. He smiled and led the way to the bench.